The Atonement or what does it all really mean?

I had the opportunity to teach a lesson this last Sunday about the Atonement to my 12-14 year old class. We had to start out with the basics and I feel it is too good to not share some of it.

First of all, what is it?

Well, we all sin. Either we have in the past or will in the future. It is because we are not perfect and mistakes happen. We are not perfect. We are here to learn that.

We are not able to return to Heavenly Father because of those sins because he cannot be in the presence of sinners.

Therefore, we need someone to atone for our sins. To pay for them so that we can return to Heavenly Father when the time comes.

What kind of person should that be? Well, I found the best description here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/04/he-lives-all-glory-to-his-name?lang=eng

Richard D. Scott said this of Jesus Christ’s challenges:

First, an enormous sense of responsibility, for He realized that except it be done perfectly, not one of His Father’s children could return to Him. They would be forever banished from His presence since there would be no way to repent for broken laws and no unclean thing can exist in the presence of God. His Father’s plan would have failed, and each spirit child would have been under the eternal control and torment of Satan.

Second, in His absolutely pure mind and heart, He had to personally feel the consequences of all that mankind would ever encounter, even the most depraved, despicable sins.

Third, He had to endure the vicious attack of Satan’s hordes while physically and emotionally pressed to the limit. Then, for reasons we do not fully know, while at the extremity of His capacity, at the time the Savior most needed succor, His Father allowed Him to shoulder the onerous responsibility with only His own strength and capacity.

Wow! Now that we put it this way,  Jesus did do something amazing for us!

Now, can we still sin and be able to enter in the presence of Heavenly Father? No.

So what can we do and how do we learn about it?

We are to repent (see the sin within ourselves and never do it again, doing all within ourselves to repay what we did). That is simple-even the worst sins can be let go.

We learn in going to church, reading our scriptures, listening to Apostles who will teach us, and praying for understanding.

With what Jesus did for us,  is it important for us to do all we can to keep from being part of the pain that he suffered?

Look within ourselves and see what we can do to become better. In doing so, we will be greatly blessed!

My response to incorrect concepts

SEVEN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MORMONISM AND CHRISTIANITY

1. Mormon scripture teaches that all the various Christian denominations, particularly the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists, are all considered by Jesus Christ to be “wrong.”

2. Mormon scripture, prophets and apostles teach that there is more than one god who created this world, that there are many gods who rule over other worlds, and that worthy Mormons may one day become gods themselves. Even though Mormons claim there is only one God for them, they still believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are separate gods who are only one in their purpose rather than in a personal being that they share eternally.

3. Mormon scripture, prophets and apostles teach that God the Father is an exalted man with flesh and bones.

4. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that God the Father has at least one wife by which we were all literally born from as spirit children prior to coming to this earth. Some of these prophets and apostles have even taught that Jesus had wives and children.

5. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that God the Father had a Father whom He followed as Jesus had followed Him. This follows from the preceding points.

6. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that there are many things that Jesus did not create. For example, He did not create our spirits, nor did He create Lucifer, nor did He even create the planet that He was born on as a spirit. The reason for this is because Mormons believe that Jesus and Lucifer are literally brothers, and we as humans are all the younger brothers and sisters of them. We were all born of heavenly parents, who did the creating work of their world (not all worlds whatsoever) before we arrived spiritually in heaven.

7. Mormon prophets and apostles teach that we should not pray directly to Jesus. Rather, they can only pray directly to the Father in the name of Jesus.

 

My response to this: The title is incorrect. Mormons are Christians. Check out the title on the church buildings “The church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.

1. We are not taught that all other denominations are wrong, but that they were correct at their beginnings as much as they could be, but that through the years, many of the things that were correct became incorrect by dictations of the congregations or their leaders. I knew someone back in the 80’s by the name of Rex who mapped out the differences between all religions and he had done his research personally and had each of the leaders review his data before he published it.

2. We do not believe that the Holy Ghost is a god. We believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are one in purpose-which is to teach us (Heavenly Father’s children) how to become like him. They are separate beings-not in one body. If this is so, why was Jesus talking to the Father while on the cross. Was he talking to himself or to another being? When he was baptized, in Matthew chapter 3 verses 16 and 17 it quotes: 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

This shows that there are 3 beings and not just one because if there was only one, who spoke?

3. Is it hard to imagine that we were created in the image of our father? In Genesis chapter 1 verses 26 and 27, it quotes: 26 ¶And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

What is the image? A mirror or something more substantial such as a body of flesh and bone? It is comforting that when I die, I will be able to reach out and touch Heavenly Father and be able to hug him and not some puff of air.

4. Is it so difficult to think that Heavenly Father has a wife? That she is so sacred to him that he protects her and her name so that it does not become a swear word such as we have treated his and his son’s names in this world? If it is common sense that it takes a male and a female to create a baby, would there be an example somewhere that was determined before we were put on this earth? Yes, it is possible that Jesus had a wife and maybe even children. We do not discuss this because it is not important to our personal growth. There are other religions that consider this possibility or there would not have been a book created called “The DaVinci Code” which discusses this and other religions’ beliefs. I have read it and found it fascinating, but if Jesus had children, what would we do about it? Let them live their lives as he would have wanted them to do or worship them because they have his blood? I am sure that he would not have wanted us to do the latter for that would defeat the purpose of them being here.

5. It is possible that Heavenly Father had a father. It would make sense as well. But, why not? Why believe there is only one possibility? We are told that all will unfold and we will understand after the second coming of Jesus. So why dwell on this?

6. Is it so hard to believe that we were all brothers and sisters and that we are children of Heavenly Father and that some of us chose to not follow the plan of salvation as much as others? That as family, this would mean that Jesus and Lucifer are related? Personally, I have sometimes wondered what Lucifer may look like. The answer that fits the most would be that he looks like us. Not with horns and a tail, not with a pointed face, but like someone who may live next door. The difference between these 2 people that are mentioned are the fact that they personally choose to follow different pathways. Which pathway do we want to be on?

7. In our bible dictionary, this is what we are taught about prayer: As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings. Jesus teaches us at the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 6 verses 6-13: 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

If Jesus is telling us to pray to the Father, why should we do anything else? Please note that I used the quotes from the King James Version of the Bible only. This is easily found and easily referenced.

I truly believe that we are here to learn to love ourselves unconditionally and to love others unconditionally as well. That if we do so, we would do our best to not hurt those we love and if we teach others to do this as well, that it would make this a better world. To me, the “Mormon” church teaches how to do this with all of their “rules” and I am glad that I have a goal to reach throughout my life, that I am not alone and that there is a way to do this.

Moving mountains and those pesky grains of sand!

Ok, so I admit, I am much better at moving mountains in my life instead of focusing on the grains of sand! Ask me to help find a mate, background check them, introduce them, plan the wedding, move them I can do that. I have done that.

I spent a few years being a single adult representative. I had let go of looking for the quick-fix husband and instead, focused on becoming a good friend to those I associated with. I had many friends from all walks of life. I do not like games, so when I see a friend beginning to play them, I step in! I have gone to both the men and the women and told them about each other. I have had my fingers in many connections that got married. Most of them are still that way. When they announce the wedding date, I then pitch in and pull together weddings for a very low cost(remember, these are my friends and I had to consider this my hobby because I was not paid for most of them). I have even moved people in an efficient and quick manner!

I can start a business, run it and get it to run itself-without me.

But, when it comes to doing things like the dishes after every meal, or on a daily basis… maybe not going to happen.

I do my best to remember to get my visiting teaching done, but instead of actually visiting, I am emailing. Ok, so it is still a visit, but not the best! The results are great, though! My visit teachees actually do not mind because they are all so busy and are happy that I keep them up to date on activities going on and I do try to connect with them each time I see them.

My husband and I do read our scriptures daily together, but to do personal study, study for Sunday school, study for Relief Society, study for Young Women’s (I am the secretary, so it is good for me to be prepared to teach if I have to), and other studying, it may not happen…

When I really get my focus going, I can work my many jobs’ work schedules around each other nicely, but to get to the Temple on more than a monthly basis-not as easy…

So, what I see of myself is that I see the big picture of life, but sometimes my clothes may not match…

Spiritual Fire Insurance

D&C 64:23
“Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a
day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.”
I remember when I was in Seminary many years ago and this was the scripture that was called the Fire Insurance Scripture. It was always an incentive to keep my tithing paid.
I hear that there are many people in our church who do not pay their tithing. A large part of one of my congregations that I attended  had not been paying. This had been a shock to me because I always felt that this is what separated us from the other churches on a temporal level. Did you realize that we were and as far as I still know, still are the only church organization that is out of debt? Why is this? Because we pay our debts.
During the time of the early Saints, people brought their tithes to the bishop’s storehouse. This was paid normally with food or other items of value. Now days, it is simpler. We write a check then we put it in one of those many gray envelopes and hand it to a member of our bishopric.
When did the time come that we have forgotten what the blessings are that come to us if we pay our tithing? What are the blessings we receive if we do pay? We receive both Spiritual and Temporal blessings.
For example, when I left home to go to College, I carried my tithing with me in hopes that I would be able to pay in my new ward. I did not pay it. I held the money for a month. While I did this, I was looking for a job. I could not find one. I looked and looked. When the time came that I decided to pay, within the next 24 hours, I had 3 job offers! Why did I not do it sooner? Why did I “Rob God?” and why did I rob myself of these blessings? Other times, when my health needed to be strong, when I paid my tithing, I had a miraculous amount of strength. I had endurance! My family was happy, there was peace in my home. These are great blessings!
There are many talks from our Prophets and other general authorities concerning these issues.
Why are we not listening? Do we really want to be burned? Have we forgotten what happens if we do not pay?  Are we earning so much money that we do not feel we need the blessings? Are we earning too little money where the question of whether we pay the rent or our tithing becomes the issue? Have we talked with our bishop and asked him for guidance? Have we gone to our family?
Tithing has been around since the time of Adam and Eve. We are to give a percentage of all that we have to Heavenly Father because it is his anyway. I understand that we have heard this before, but have you thought what the tithing would be used for? For buildings, learning materials, for Temples…

How about the fast offerings? How are they used? These items are in the hands of our chosen leaders and they are to listen to Heavenly Father as to what they are to do with it. Normally, it is used to assist those in the ward who needs that little blessing to help them keep going.

Have you been one of those? I have. I cherish the moment that I have had to ask for help. This is because it is given. There is hope created because there will always be the blessing of plenty for those who truly need it. I may not like to go for help, but that is because I have been taught that I am the only one who will change my life. I should be able to support myself. But, there are times when this is not the best answer. If I am able to give back, I try to give what is expected in my tithing, but I try to give more in my fast offerings. If it is a matter of money, then remember, there is a promise that the Savior will give 10 times back what you have given. I have tried this and with a prayerful heart, gave all that I have and found that sometime during the next week, the amount has been multiplied at least 10 times!
Try this, what have you to lose? Give of your tithes and fast offerings first when you receive your bounty. You will not miss it if you do so.  I love this gift and I appreciate the ability to see blessings in action.

Commitment

Commitment is the word for this week.

In John 15:13, it states “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” To be able to do this, do we not need to develop a strong friendship first? Do we not need to have trust, belief in that person, faith in who they are? Should we respect and care for that person? To really think about it, is this not what I have been talking about all along?

We need to be able to develop a relationship based in honesty, common values, and ideas, respect and the big one-love. These are the building blocks that we need to have or wish to have in place before we face the challenges of marriage.

As Elder Marion D. Hanks stated,”Married people should be best friends; no relationship on earth needs friendship as much as marriage… Friendship in a marriage is so important. It blows away the chaff and takes the kernel, rejoices in the uniqueness of the other, listens patiently, gives generously, forgives freely. Friendship will motivate one to cross the room one day and say, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.’ It will not pretend perfection nor demand it. It will not insist that both respond exactly the same in every thought and feeling, but it will bring to the union honesty, integrity. There will be repentance and forgiveness in every marriage-every good marriage-and respect and trust.”

To have this kind of friendship is commitment. To stand up next to the one you care about when life gets tough, to be able to cheer them on when they are facing a challenge, this is commitment.

May we continue in our developing our friendships with each other, creating reasons to be committed to each other and finding the wishes in our hearts is my hope.

Am I Fasting or Starving?

Matthew 6:16-18
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy
Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Many times, I have taught the value of fasting to my children, but it seems that I had at least one that did not understand no matter how I have tried to teach him. On Fast Sunday, as soon as our meetings were finished, he gathered his brother and sister and found me and dragged us to the car so that we can drive home as quickly as we can and eat everything in sight!
What is fasting?

Well, to me, it is a time set aside to focus on the most important issue that needs to be addressed with our Heavenly Father. It is a time where all other things are set aside, including eating, so that the communication is clear. How can you focus on your closest desire and be making a sandwich? How can
you talk with Heavenly Father with a singleness of thought when you are trying to decide if you want cheese or not on that sandwich?
Is Fast Sunday a day once a month that we suffer because we miss a couple of meals? Or is it a time to reflect? A time to heal?
I had a question that I felt that I needed to have answered. I asked for my Home Teacher to come by that night for a blessing. I wanted to make sure that I was hearing what was correct and not just my imaginings. So, I decided to fast. I thought that it would be difficult. I do not normally fast other than on Fast Sundays, or for a long period of time. It was in the middle of the week, so I was able to skip breakfast, then when lunch came around, my non-member friend who always walked with me to find restaurants to eat at, wanted to go. I told her that I was not going to eat. This surprised her, but not so much as the fact that I told her that I also was not going to drink anything-including water. So, we walked together. She ordered a meal and ate it in front of me, but it did not bother me because we were talking about the value of fasting and it has opened up a lot of doors to discussions that we have had since. I was not hungry. I was still praying through the day in preparation for the blessing that I was to receive. Meanwhile, many of the answers were being answered during the day, but not the main one. I was grateful for each answer, but I was still waiting for the big question to be answered. My Home Teacher came by and brought another with him. I am not sure if they had been fasting as well, but I had found that most Priesthood holders will fast before a blessing. This helps them as well. I was given a blessing. I asked specific questions, but the answer was not specific. In being thus, it has even blessed me more than I had thought! Instead of a yes or no, it was more along the lines of being “You will receive the peace to know your answers.” For many days afterwards and even now, I am still blessed from this particular blessing. No, I never got a direct answer  for the one question to be answered, but I had let it go and began focusing on what is far more important-
Eternal Life.
That is more important. The rest will fall into place. By the way, I did not eat until the next day because I was not hungry. I really was not hungry even then, but when I did break my fast, then the body reawakened and let me know what it’s needs were.
Try this, use it with a sincere desire to understand not only the act of the fast, but to understand the blessings that come from it. I know that you will be blessed if you do these things.

Have you prayed today?

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed,
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of an eye
When none but God is near. …
O thou by whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way!
The path of prayer thyself hast trod;
Lord, teach us how to pray.
(Hymns, 1985, no. 145.)
Have you ever taken the time to read the words to this song?
When I was a little girl, my parents had a book that was called: “Do your prayers bounce off the ceiling?” I felt that I had not been praying in a manner that would do more than do the bouncing. One day when I was delivering candy, pop and other items to vending machines, I decided that I wanted to try to pray for the whole time that I had been working. This would be for 6 hours! I had never prayed for longer than a couple of minutes without running out of things to say.
So I decided to try this. I began really early in the morning so that I would not encounter too many of the employees at each of the locations that I was visiting. I would have everything set up the night before so that all I needed to do was drive away. When I was in the car and before I turned the key, I began my prayer. Then I would continue praying from that point on until I returned home. It was hard at first, I was grateful for the interruptions that happened at most of my locations because then I could begin again. But after a while, I found that my prayers were becoming more of a conversation and that when I was interrupted, I would listen instead of doing all of the talking.  I found that many times, I was crying because the spirit was so strong! I found also, that each of my prayers were being answered in an immediate way. Sometimes with a sense of humor, such as if I complained about the traffic, then seconds later, the next light was green and the rest of the trip was clear. I would then acknowledge that the answer was there and that the ones answering my prayers were better on top of things than I was. I always felt that they were right next to me and that they were always smiling when I understood the message. This created a closeness that I had never felt before. I desired to keep this feeling closer to me, so I would stop the prayer at the end of the trip, but then check in throughout the day. Eventually, I found that I was praying all day long, but in a manner that those around me did not know. I had a spirit that was always there so that I could just pick up where I left off. I did not have to wait to create this feeling. I was glad for this, so much that I reveled in it!
When I did not pray, I found that I was empty, that I was alone and that it took me a long time to recreate the feeling that there was a 2-way communication with our Heavenly Father and our Savior.
Pray.

Pray always. Try this, for it is a good way. Do it a little at a time, for as we are guided in 2 Nephi 28:30, “Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little.” If you do this, you will be blessed considerably!

Love thy neighbor

Matthew 22:39
This is such a hard topic because if you do not love yourself, then how can you love another?  How can I love myself? How do I know that I love myself?
Love is such a strong word, but not easily defined.

What is it? How do I know if I feel it? Is it defined by books? How about movies? Songs?  Is it something that you feel for a short time? Is it something that is forever?
To me, love is a forever feeling. It has many levels. You can love an animal, a child, an eternal companion, and the Savior and each has a different feeling. This is a good thing because it is an individual feeling.
This is why the definition is so difficult to pin down. I can love a dog because it is there for me for all of its life, but I can love dolphins and never be around one. What is this feeling of love?
Poems have been written for centuries concerning this word.
Now, do I love myself? How do I treat myself? Do I care about me?
I am a child of my Heavenly Father and I am to be treated that way.  This means that I am to take care of myself. My body is a Temple that I have been given. How do I treat my Temple? Is it clean and bright and open for good things to happen? Is it a little dusty from misuse? Do I have rooms in it that I would not like a guest to walk in? Is there enough light in each of the rooms? Is it welcoming, or do we avoid it when it is around us?
How about what I am stuffing in my library? What kinds of media is in there? If I went into my memories of music, will I be assaulted by pounding, screaming noise, or will it be soothing and peaceful? What about the movies? If I open the door to this part of my mind, will the movies be supporting or will they be bad? The same thing about the time I spend on the computer and books.
How does this affect my connection with Heavenly Father and our Savior? If I thought about them, will they be right there, or will they be far away because I have turned away from them.
My soul is a very precious thing and it tells me what is right if I listen to it. It will guide me to find out what love is.
Love is the total acceptance of another person, place or thing. Most of the time, this is used in reference of another person. But it is also in reference to ourselves. We desire to accept ourselves. We desire to find the person that we were born as.
When I look in the mirror, I can either look for the flaws, which will bring in the negative feelings, or I can look for the light of Christ. When we find this love of ourselves, we then have the ability to shine with the love of our Heavenly Father and our Savior. We are able to express ourselves better and then go from looking inward, to giving outward.
How do we do this?

By praying to our Heavenly Father for guidance, by reading the scriptures that are available to us, by listening to our prophets who already have this gift.  When we have learned to love ourselves, we then have the ability to open our hearts and to “Love our neighbors as ourselves”.

The Gospel according to Mary

I was born and raised in the church and found that many words had no meaning to me because I had heard them so often and assumed that I knew what they meant. They were words such as “Remission of Sins”, “The Atonement of Christ” and “The Gospel”. At one point in my life, I decided to really find out what “Remission of Sins” really meant. When I did a lot of studying in the scriptures, I found that it really meant that every little sin was removed. That the soul was pure and if we work hard at it, we can keep it that way.
I found that I really did not understand what “The Gospel” really meant. People threw the word around so easily, that I knew that it was a thing. I knew that it was so important that people have died for it. I knew that the whole basis of our church was founded on it, but I did not know what it really was.
What is it? How complicated is it? Is it something that I could understand in it’s simpliest form?
I began to fast and pray. I began to really open my scriptures.
Now, I do believe that answers can come immediately because they do. They happen to me quite often and I appreciate it. If the answer is not one that I want to hear, I hear it anyway. If I do not receive an answer, that is my answer. The key is that after I pray, I listen. I spend maybe more time listening than
praying. Some people may think that I am sleeping because I relax so much when I do this, but when I am finished, I know what my answer is and I act upon it.  The words “God is Love” began to form in my mind. Then “The Love of Christ” followed after.
I found that I have to put my information to the test, so I challenged the Lord. I told him that if I did everything possible to be Love, to give Love for one day, that I would be following his commandments. I would then expect to receive the blessings that he has promised to me.

WOW!!! Be careful what you ask for!
I found that my focus was on love. That if I felt any other feeling, that it meant that I was not a follower of our Savior. I did not want that to happen, so when other feelings crept in, I would then do my best to remove that feeling as soon as possible.
I then asked for a blessing to make some decisions in my life because the life of a single mother, raising 2 children basically on her own, who had lost her job, was losing her home, a boyfriend that wanted to marry her, but could not decide if he was ready, and had a plethora of other issues plaguing her.
I was told that I was going to be making a lot of hard decisions and that they were going to hurt. But to know that I was not alone and that I would have the courage to do these things.
Within 24 hours, I had found that I had a new place to live that would not cost anything for a short time and that it would give me a chance to get back on my feet.
I had a temporary work service that found a job that would give me more than the unemployment that was going to run out in 4 months. It was still temporary, but it gave me a chance to catch up and clear out some debts that were getting nasty. My sons were beginning to talk with me again-yes, we had encountered the teenage angst that I had hoped to miss. I saw old friends that I found that either have greatly improved their spiritual lives or else need my love to help them grow. I also realized that my boyfriend was not for me because he could not cherish me the way I needed, so I gave him up. This was difficult, but it really defines the word “Unconditional Love”. I loved him unconditionally, and so I hope that his choices in life will give him joy. I was saddened by his choice, but I was not angry at him.
So, now that I have rambled on, let me tell you what the Gospel really is to me. It is a four letter word called Love.
That’s it. Love.
Heavenly Father gave us this place to live and give us a chance to be like him because he Loved us.
Heavenly Father gave us his most precious gift because he Loves us.
Jesus Christ gave his life for us because he Loves us.

We are to love everyone around us no matter who they are because they need it.  I challenge you to try this out. Only for one day. Do everything throughout the day only with the focus of love. If there is any other feeling, address it and change it to love. If you like the results, keep it up each day. Pray for the ability to keep it with you each morning so that it stays fresh in your heart and mind. I promise you that many doors come open to you when this happens.

In the Temple

Learning Christlike love in a relationship can be done in the Temple. For many of us, we have been to the Temple. Many of us have been sealed. When we are there, we make promises to each other and to Heavenly Father. These covenants, if actually taken to heart (meaning we actually do them, not just talk about them), give us an opportunity to open ourselves to give and receive love on a much larger scale than if we did not go. In many marriage relationship classes that I have been to, there is one concept that I have tried my hardest to incorporate into my life.

Marriage takes 3 people. Myself, my husband and Heavenly Father. It is like a 3 legged stool. One can be shorter(weaker) than the others, but the other 2 keep the stool steady. The key is to keep all 3 legs to make the stool work. With Heavenly Father as a participant in our relationship, we are able to open our hearts and discuss things with kindness and love instead of accusations and self-interest.

Bruce R. McConkie said, “I am firmly convinced that it is possible for a man or a woman to love his or her companion abundantly more in this thing which is called the new and everlasting covenant of marriage than it is ever possible to love such an individual outside this order of marriage, because we are entitled to have, and we do have all of the normal and wholesome affection that does and should exist between the sexes and then in addition to that, we can have in our family the sanctifying influence of the love of Christ. We can have a love which is abiding and eternal and which never ceases and never ends but will grow and increase until the perfect day is attained.”

This is the pure love that we are working for. We have the ability to stand up for each other and to be there for when the trials come.  Elder Parley P. Pratt said this of Joseph Smith, “It was Joseph Smith who taught me how to prize the endearing relationships of father and mother, husband, wife; of brother and sister, son and daughter.

It was from him that I learned that the wife of my bosom might be secured to me for time and all eternity; and that the refined sympathies and affections which endeared us to each other emanated from the fountain of divine eternal love… I had loved before, but I knew not why. But now I loved-with a pureness- an intensity of elevated exalted feeling.”

What a wonderful thought! Can we ever feel this way? The answer is Yes! Let us prepare ourselves to go to the Temple and learn how to love and to become a better person. Let us go to the Temple and encourage each other to do so. Many of us do not have recommends or have let them expire without using them. Some may have a recommend and have forgotten when they went last. Let us try to make an effort to go to the Temple. Why deny ourselves the blessings that we are entitled to?